WCCDA Narrative Series | Two
Somalia by Unsplash
My name is Deeqa, and I have been living in White Center for the past 9 years since 2013. I came to the United States from Somalia with my father, brother, and sister in 2004. The United States supported us as refugees as my country has been going through a civil war since 1991.
Image by Canva
When I came to the US, I was 18. Prior, I had never gone to school and did not have a formal education in Somalia. After we arrived, I attended classes at the Bilingual Orientation Center (BOC) in Queen Anne. During that time, my family was living in the New Holly area. After completing the program at BOC, I went to Chief Seattle High School. Then, I finished an associate degree in Medical Assistance at Seattle Central Community College. However, I could not work as a medical assistant during that time because I was not allowed to wear a hijab on the job. I had originally planned to become a nurse, but since I was not able to wear a hijab to be a medical assistant, I realized I would not be able to be a nurse as well. So, I gave up on trying to become a nurse.
In 2009, I got married, and in 2010, I had twins. I became a full-time mother. After having my third child, I decided to go back to work. I did not want to stay home anymore and wanted to earn money to send to my family and relatives in Somalia. During that time, my twins were attending a Headstart program, and my sister was watching the little one. People from my community told me that I was good with kids and have a lot of patience to work with kids, so they recommended me a job at Educare. I became a full-time substitute teacher at Educare, working with challenged kids. After 2 years, I became pregnant and was easily sick during my pregnancy, so I had to quit my work at Educare. Four months after giving birth to my fourth child, I decided to go back to work. But on the way back from work, I got into a car accident. My car was completely totaled, and I had severe injuries to my back, head, and knees. I also suffered anxiety with cars for a while. So, I decided to stop working and rest for 4 years before having my 5th child. I loved the work, but I could not return with injuries since the work had physical requirements. I was not able to bend and pick up things! Even now, I am still connected to some of the kids I worked with, and people are still asking me to return to work with kids.
Educare by Google
It was during the time I was resting after my accident that I got connected to Play and Learn at the White Center Community Development Association. My friend, the first Fartun, was facilitating the Play and Learn in Somali at Seola Garden, and she invited me to participate. Play and Learn was extremely helpful to my 4th child during that time. He was highly active, and because of Play and Learn, he learned communication skills, how to share, and how to show respect. In addition, because of Play and Learn, we were also able to go on field trips and explore so many fun places in the area such as the zoo, aquarium, children's museum, etc. My child loved it so much that even now that he is in first grade, he is still asking about it.
Seola Gardens by Google
I like living in White Center. To me, White Center has a very calm, quiet, and clean environment. People here are very friendly. Currently, my twins are attending Rainier Prep, and the 3rd and 4th are attending Shorewood. My twins were the second Somali students at Shorewood, and the school staff was friendly and supportive. Now, there are more Somali students at Shorewood because I have recommended people send their kids there. I hope to stay in White Center for a long time. I can imagine my kids growing up and completing their high school education here in White Center. My twins want to be engineers and become airplane makers! I do not think anything is missing in White Center except for Somali restaurants. We have to go to Tukwila, Kent, Renton, etc. for Somali food typically. Since there are more Somali families in the South King County area, there are more Somali restaurants there.
Image by WCCDA
Even though my original goal was to work in the healthcare field, and I loved working with kids at Educare, I have recently realized that my passion is baking! My children like to eat sweets, so about 3 years ago, I started learning to bake so that my children can have sweets that have less sugar. I love baking! I love being in the kitchen and making/creating new recipes. Currently, I have been making and selling macarons, cinnamon rolls, sambusas, cupcakes, muffins, and cakes to sell to our community. My dream is to own a bakery. I hope someday I will have the opportunity and financial support to make it happen!
End of Narrative